Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

How Does That Taste Hockey's Future/THN?

You know, I find it pretty funny "mainstream" media outlets like Hockey's Future and THN can find it fit to ridicule the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospect base, put us dead last in their organizational ranking and keep our players out of their top-50 prospects without even so much as an honorable mention and yet when the puck is dropped and the real games are played the Lightning have three of the better rookies in the league this season. TSN [url=http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=155720&hubname=nhl]released their top-40 rankings for rookie forwards today[/url] and Ryan Craig (#23) and Evgeny Artyukhin (#25) both made the grade. Here's a fun exercise: count the number of well hyped 1st round draft picks lunch pail 8th rounder Ryan Craig has outplayed so far this year. I count nine between the rest of the top-40 and the honorable mentions TSN lists, and I'm sure a certain very biased online editor at Hockey's Future must be thoroughly embarassed by the immortal Jim Slater being bested by [b]two[/b] prospects from the Lightning's allegedly bare cupboard. Earlier TSN [url=http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/news_story/?ID=154226&hubname=fantasy_news]had released their list of the top-20 rookie defensemen prospects and 6th round pick Paul Ranger checked in at #15.[/url] What!? No Braydon Coburn!?!?! To the critics of this organization: [img]http://www.worldbook.com/features/birds/assets/crow.jpg[/img] Would you prefer yours grilled or baked?

Game Night 2/11: Lightning at Bruins

First one to six wins... TB-6 BOS-5 John Grahame stopped 21 out of 26 in his last start before joining Team USA at the Olympics. The Lightning have now cut Carolina's division lead to 12 points with the Hurricanes playing one more game tomorrow before the Olympic break. Vaclav Prospal had 2 goals including the game winner while Dimitry Afanasenkov had a flashback to his days in the QMJHL and had a pair of markers of his own. Among Lightning rookies, Ryan Craig had a goal and an assist while Paul Ranger chipped in a helper of his own. Craig played 19:47 and was +2 with 4 shots on goal. Paul Ranger was +3 in 13:35 with 1 shot on goal. Evgeny Artyukhin played 12:03 with 3 shots on goal. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020852.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 2/9: Hurricanes at Lightning

Tonight, we're still the class of the Southeast Division. CAR-3 TB-5 John Grahame stopped 28 of 28 faced in relief for the win. Fredrik Modin led the Lightning attack with 2 goals. Rookie Evgeny Artyukhin opened the scoring for the Lightning on a long slapshot on the rush that found Martin Gerber's five hole. Paul Ranger had 2 assists. The Lightning pull to within 14 points of the Hurricanes in the division. Ryan Craig played 16:55 and was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits. Ranger was +3 in 14:33 with no shots. Artyukhin was +1 in 13:09 with 2 shots on goal and 3 hits. Norm Milley forms the rear with 2 minutes even and no shots. Game sheet at [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020837.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Eklund Traded to Boston

According to a Springfield Falcons press release, the Tampa Bay Lightning, after deciding that both Jonathan Boutin and Gerald Coleman have passed Brian Eklund on the goaltender depth chart, have traded Eklund to the Boston Bruins in his home state of Massachusetts. In return, the Lightning pick up former Atlanta third-rounder, winger Zdenek Blatny. Blatny is in his fifth season of professional hockey and has spent time with both the Providence and Boston Bruins this season. In 35 games with Providence this season, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound native of Brno, Czech Republic, has recorded eight goals and 22 assists for 30 points. Blatny is currently ranked fifth on Providence in scoring this season and also ranked fifth on the team in plus/minus with a +6 rating.

Game Night 2/7: Lightning at Devils

Ambushed. TB-4 NJ-7 John Grahame stopped just 18 of 22 shots faced while Sean Burke stopped only 5 of 8 in relief. Evgeny Artyukhin was a lone bright spot for the Lightning scoring his 3rd goal of the season on the power play. Post mortem on [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020822.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 2/6: Lightning at Islanders

55 minutes of painfully boring hockey capped by 9 minutes of pure drama. TB-3 NYI-2 (OT) Sean Burke stopped 28 of 30 shots faced for the win. Vincent Lecavalier with the overtime winner on a pretty deke on a breakaway set up by a long Martin St. Louis stretch pass. Young Paul Ranger had his 10th assist of the season on Fredrik Modin's game opening goal. Ryan Craig led all Lightning rookies with 17:07 of even ice time with 1 shot and one hit. Ranger had 14:24 of playing time and was +1 with 1 shot on goal and a slew of shots that were blocked by the Islanders defenders. Evgeny Artyukhin played 12:20 and was -1 with just 1 hit. Norm Milley played a sparing 4:12 and was -1. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020813.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 1/4: Capitals at Lightning

How'd that taste Caps fan losers? WSH-0 TB-5 John Grahame stopped 29 of 29 for the shutout. With Vincent Lecavalier out of the lineup with the all encompassing "upper body injury" Brad Richards stepped up and registered 2 goals. Amongst Lightning prospects, Ryan Craig scored his 8th goal on a beautifully ugly scrum in front of the Caps net while in garbage time Norm Milley scored his second career goal on the power play. Ryan Craig played 21:11 stepping up to fill Vincent Lecavalier's minutes with a +3 rating and 3 shots on goal. Paul Ranger played 15:29 with three shots on goal and an even rating. Evgeny Artyukhin played 10:31 with 1 shot on goal and 1 hit. Norm Milley played 6:59 and made his lone shot on goal count. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020807.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

O'Brien Returned to Springfield

The Tampa Bay Lightning [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2920.shtml]have returned defenseman Doug O'Brien to Springfield of the AHL.[/url] The blueliner was recalled and played in two games after veteran Darryl Sydor was struck in the face with a puck in the team's 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. O'Brien returns to a depleted Falcons blueline which was forced to play five defensemen in their last two games.

Game Night 1/31: Maple Leafs at Lightning

Old man Burke is my hero. TOR-2 TB-3 (SO) In the battle of AARP members, it was Sean Burke who ruled with an iron fist. Burke made 25 saves on 27 shots before the Lightning won the shootout 2-0 on a beautiful deke to the backhand by Vincent Lecavalier and a businesslike wrist shot stick side past Ed Belfour. Rookie Ryan Craig scored a key power play goal early in the third banging home a Dan Boyle rebound for his 7th goal of the season. Fun with math: if you pro rate Craig's production over an 82 game schedule he'd be on a pace for 30 goals. Craig played 15:32 and made his only shot on goal count. Paul Ranger played 20:03 and was even with 3 shots on goal although he also had 3 giveaways. Doug O'Brien was limited to 6:50, thus necessitating Rangers' big minutes, and had 1 shot on goal. Doug appeared to me to be struggling with the speed of the game and his decision making when moving the puck was neither quick nor decisive. Norm Milley played just 3:43 with one hit. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020776.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Jaspers Sent Back Down

620 WDAE [url=http://www.620wdae.com/cc-common/mainheadlines2.html?feed=122843&article=388031]is reporting the Lightning have reassigned center Jason Jaspers to Springfield of the AHL.[/url] Despite being recalled to Tampa twice in the last half a month Jaspers has yet to play a game in a Lightning uniform.
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